Look In Your Dishwasher

Cleaning The Dishwasher

I once read the most disgusting article about fungus growing in the dishwasher, that I just had to get up and look in mine, just to see for myself. You know me... I'm a worrier, not a warrior.

Prevent Harmful Fungi From Developing In Your Dishwasher -- UndergroundHealth.com Is There A Fungal Jungle In Your Dishwasher? -- Healthline.com

So I looked. I mean really looked. All around the seal, on all the walls and the racks. I looked down into the center, where the water settles in the bottom, and I removed the food trap and the spinning sprayer thingy, and guess what?

There was fungus in my dishwasher!!

At first I thought it was just a really bad build up of calcium or mineral deposits. We live on a community well, and we have very hard water. There's hard mineral deposits building up in the shower heads, in the coffee maker, and staining the toilet. It's something we've gotten used to. 

I reached in to scrape it off, if indeed that's what it was. 
But it wasn't! 
It was actually a fungus; a rubbery, cold fungus that did indeed scrape off. 

Once the disgust subsided, I had work to do. I donned some old clothes and thick rubber kitchen gloves, and I took the dish racks to the bathtub, where I wiped them down with CLR (Calcium, Lime, and Rust Remover). Using a long handled, narrow headed scrub brush, I had to scrub in between several of the pegs to remove a few rust stains. Then a good rinse, and a towel dry.

I did the same thing with each of the other little components as well, many of which required a good scrubbing. After rinsing them, I did it again, but this time I dug into the deeper crevices, where I had found more evidence of the mushroomy stuff, and scrubbed them with bleach. The article said that I could use vinegar, but I was running low. 

My Dangerous Mistake
Keep in mind that I had been working on this sucker for hours, and was really ready for it to be over. I had totally forgotten that I had already poured CLR into the bottom of the beast, to dissolve a very large rust stain. Then I saw more fungus, so I poured in a bit of bleach. The inability to breathe was instant, and my eyes had begun to burn. That's when I realized what I had just done.

Mixing hazardous chemicals together creates a toxic gas that can seriously damage the lungs, as well as the brain.  

I bolted to the kitchen window for fresh air, and them bolted out of the room. After finding a face mask, I hurried to clean up the mixture using the shop vac. I suffered a burning, shallow cough and sore throat, and even a few cognitive issues, for several hours.

Once I regained my faculties, I put the machine back together and ran a full cycle with baking soda and vinegar. 

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